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Act IV

[Man's most pleasant invention is the lawn-mower. All the birds know
this, and that is why, when it is at rest, there is always at least
one of them sitting on the handle with his head cocked, wondering how
the delicious whirring sound is made. When they find out, they will
change their note. As it is, you must sometimes have thought that you
heard the mower very early in the morning, and perhaps you peeped in
neglige from your lattice window to see who was up so early. It was
really the birds trying to get the note.

On this broiling morning, however, we are at noon, and whoever looks
will see that the whirring is done by Mr. Venables. He is in a linen
suit with the coat discarded (the bird is sitting on it), and he
comes and goes across the Comtesse's lawns, pleasantly mopping his
face. We see him through a crooked bowed window generously open,
roses intruding into it as if to prevent its ever being closed at
night; there are other roses in such armfuls on the tables that one
could not easily say where the room ends and the garden begins.

In the Comtesse's pretty comic drawing-room (for she likes the comic
touch when she is in England) sits John Shand with his hostess, on
chairs at a great distance from each other. No linen garments for
John, nor flannels, nor even knickerbockers; he envies the English
way of dressing for trees and lawns, but is too Scotch to be able to
imitate it; he wears tweeds, just as he would do in his native
country where they would be in kilts. Like many another Scot, the
first time he ever saw a kilt was on a Sassenach; indeed kilts were
perhaps invented, like golf, to draw the English north. John is doing
nothing, which again is not a Scotch accomplishment, and he looks
rather miserable and dour. The Comtesse is already at her Patience
cards, and occasionally she smiles on him as if not displeased with
his long silence. At last she speaks:]

COMTESSE. I feel it rather a shame to detain you here on such a
lovely day, Mr. Shand, entertaining an old woman.

JOHN. I don't pretend to think I'm entertaining you, Comtesse.

COMTESSE. But you ARE, you know.

JOHN. I would be pleased to be told how?

[She shrugs her impertinent shoulders, and presently there is another
heavy sigh from JOHN.]

COMTESSE. Again! Why do not you go out on the river?

JOHN. Yes, I can do that. [He rises.]

COMTESSE. And take Sybil with you. [He sits again.] No?

JOHN. I have been on the river with her twenty times.

COMTESSE. Then take her for a long walk through the Fairloe woods.

JOHN. We were there twice last week.

COMTESSE. There is a romantically damp little arbour at the end of
what the villagers call the Lovers' Lane.

JOHN. One can't go there every day. I see nothing to laugh at.

COMTESSE. Did I laugh? I must have been translating the situation
into French.

[Perhaps the music of the lawn-mower is not to JOHN's mood, for he
betakes himself to another room. MR. VENABLES pauses in his labours
to greet a lady who has appeared on the lawn, and who is MAGGIE. She
is as neat as if she were one of the army of typists [who are quite
the nicest kind of women], and carries a little bag. She comes in
through the window, and puts her hands over the COMTESSE's eyes.]

COMTESSE. They are a strong pair of hands, at any rate.

MAGGIE. And not very white, and biggish for my size. Now guess.

[The COMTESSE guesses, and takes both the hands in hers as if she
valued them. She pulls off MAGGIE's hat as if to prevent her flying
away.]

COMTESSE. Dear abominable one, not to let me know you were coming.

MAGGIE. It is just a surprise visit, Comtesse. I walked up from the
station. [For a moment MAGGIE seems to have borrowed SYBIL'S
impediment.] How is--everybody?

COMTESSE. He is quite well. But, my child, he seems to me to be a
most unhappy man.

[This sad news does not seem to make a most unhappy woman of the
child. The COMTESSE is puzzled, as she knows nothing of the situation
save what she has discovered for herself.]

Why should that please you, O heartless one?

MAGGIE. I won't tell you.

COMTESSE. I could take you and shake you, Maggie. Here have I put my
house at your disposal for so many days for some sly Scotch purpose,
and you will not tell me what it is.

MAGGIE. No.

COMTESSE. Very well, then, but I have what you call a nasty one for
you. [The COMTESSE lures MR. VENABLES into the room by holding up
what might be a foaming glass of lemon squash.] Alas, Charles, it is
but a flower vase. I want you to tell Mrs. Shand what you think of
her husband's speech.

[MR. VENABLES gives his hostess a reproachful look.]

VENABLES. Eh--ah--Shand will prefer to do that himself. I promised
the gardener--I must not disappoint him--excuse me--

COMTESSE. You must tell her, Charles.

MAGGIE. Please, Mr. Venables, I should like to know.

[He sits down with a sigh and obeys.]

VENABLES. Your husband has been writing the speech here, and by his
own wish he read it to me three days ago. The occasion is to be an
important one; and, well, there are a dozen young men in the party at
present, all capable of filling a certain small ministerial post. [He
looks longingly at the mower, but it sends no message to his aid.]
And as he is one of them I was anxious that he should show in this
speech of what he is capable.

MAGGIE. And hasn't he?

[Not for the first time MR. VENABLES wishes that he was not in
politics.]

VENABLES. I am afraid he has.

COMTESSE. What is wrong with the speech, Charles?

VENABLES. Nothing--and he can still deliver it. It is a powerful,
well-thought-out piece of work, such as only a very able man could
produce. But it has no SPECIAL QUALITY of its own--none of the little
touches that used to make an old stager like myself want to pat Shand
on the shoulder. [The COMTESSE's mouth twitches, but MAGGIE declines
to notice it.] He pounds on manfully enough, but, if I may say so,
with a wooden leg. It is as good, I dare say, as the rest of them
could have done; but they start with such inherited advantages, Mrs.
Shand, that he had to do better.

MAGGIE. Yes, I can understand that.

VENABLES. I am sorry, Mrs. Shand, for he interested me. His career
has set me wondering whether if _I_ had begun as a railway porter I
might not still be calling out, 'By your leave.'

[MAGGIE thinks it probable but not important]

MAGGIE. Mr. Venables, now that I think of it, surely John wrote to me
that you were dissatisfied with his first speech, and that he was
writing another.

[The COMTESSE's eyes open very wide indeed.]

VENABLES. I have heard nothing of that, Mrs. Shand. [He shakes his
wise head.] And in any case, I am afraid--[He still hears the wooden
leg.]

MAGGIE. But you said yourself that his second thoughts were sometimes
such an improvement on the first.

[The COMTESSE comes to the help of the baggage.]

COMTESSE. I remember you saying that, Charles.

VENABLES. Yes, that has struck me. [Politely] Well, if he has
anything to show me--In the meantime--

[He regains the lawn, like one glad to escape attendance at JOHN'S
obsequies. The COMTESSE is brought back to speech by the sound of the
mower--nothing wooden in it.]

COMTESSE. What are you up to now, Miss Pin? You know as well as I do
that there is no such speech.

[MAGGIE's mouth tightens.]

MAGGIE. I do not.

COMTESSE. It is a duel, is it, my friend?

[The COMTESSE rings the bell and MAGGIE's guilty mind is agitated.]

MAGGIE. What are you ringing for?

COMTESSE. As the challenged one, Miss Pin, I have the choice of
weapons. I am going to send for your husband to ask him if he has
written such a speech. After which, I suppose, you will ask me to
leave you while you and he write it together.

[MAGGIE wrings her hands.]

MAGGIE. You are wrong, Comtesse; but please don't do that.

COMTESSE. You but make me more curious, and my doctor says that I
must be told everything. [The COMTESSE assumes the pose of her sex in
melodrama.] Put your cards on the table, Maggie Shand, or--[She
indicates that she always pinks her man. MAGGIE dolefully produces a
roll of paper from her bag.] What precisely is that?

[The reply is little more than a squeak.]

MAGGIE. John's speech.

COMTESSE. You have written it yourself!

[MAGGIE is naturally indignant.]

MAGGIE. It's typed.

COMTESSE. You guessed that the speech he wrote unaided would not
satisfy, and you prepared this to take its place!

MAGGIE. Not at all, Comtesse. It is the draft of his speech that he
left at home. That's all.

COMTESSE. With a few trivial alterations by yourself, I swear. Can
you deny it?

[No wonder that MAGGIE is outraged. She replaces JOHN's speech in the
bag with becoming hauteur.]

MAGGIE. Comtesse, these insinuations are unworthy of you. May I ask
where is my husband?

[The COMTESSE drops her a curtsey.]

COMTESSE. I believe your Haughtiness may find him in the Dutch
garden. Oh, I see through you. You are not to show him your speech.
But you are to get him to write another one, and somehow all your
additions will be in it. Think not, creature, that you can deceive
one so old in iniquity as the Comtesse de la Briere.

[There can be but one reply from a good wife to such a charge, and at
once the COMTESSE is left alone with her shame. Anon a footman
appears. You know how they come and go.]

FOOTMAN. You rang, my lady?

COMTESSE. Did I? Ah, yes, but why? [He is but lately from the
ploughshare and cannot help her. In this quandary her eyes alight
upon the bag. She is unfortunately too abandoned to feel her shame;
she still thinks that she has the choice of weapons. She takes the
speech from the bag and bestows it on her servitor.] Take this to Mr.
Venables, please, and say it is from Mr. Shand. [THOMAS--but in the
end we shall probably call him JOHN--departs with the dangerous
papers; and when MAGGIE returns she finds that the COMTESSE is once
more engaged in her interrupted game of Patience.] You did not find
him?

[All the bravery has dropped from MAGGIE's face.]

MAGGIE. I didn't see him, but I heard him. SHE is with him. I think
they are coming here.

[The COMTESSE is suddenly kind again.]

COMTESSE. Sybil? Shall I get rid of her?

MAGGIE. No, I want her to be here, too. Now I shall know.

[The COMTESSE twists the little thing round.]

COMTESSE. Know what?

MAGGIE. As soon as I look into his face I shall know.

[A delicious scent ushers in the fair SYBIL, who is as sweet as a
milking stool. She greets MRS. SHAND with some alarm.]

MAGGIE. How do you do, Lady Sybil? How pretty you look in that frock.
[SYBIL rustles uncomfortably.] You are a feast to the eye.

SYBIL. Please, I wish you would not.

[Shall we describe SYBIL'S frock, in which she looks like a great
strawberry that knows it ought to be plucked; or would it be easier
to watch the coming of JOHN? Let us watch JOHN.]

JOHN. You, Maggie! You never wrote that you were coming.

[No, let us watch MAGGIE. As soon as she looked into his face she was
to know something of importance.]

MAGGIE [not dissatisfied with what she sees]. No, John, it's a
surprise visit. I just ran down to say good-bye.

[At this his face falls, which does not seem to pain her.]

SYBIL [foreseeing another horrible Scotch scene]. To say good-bye?

COMTESSE [thrilling with expectation]. To whom, Maggie?

SYBIL [deserted by the impediment, which is probably playing with
rough boys in the Lovers' Lane]. Auntie, do leave us, won't you?

COMTESSE. Not I. It is becoming far too interesting.

MAGGIE. I suppose there's no reason the Comtesse shouldn't be told,
as she will know so soon at any rate?

JOHN. That's so. [SYBIL sees with discomfort that he is to be
practical also.]

MAGGIE. It's so simple. You see, Comtesse, John and Lady Sybil have
fallen in love with one another, and they are to go off as soon as
the meeting at Leeds has taken place.

[The COMTESSE's breast is too suddenly introduced to Caledonia and
its varied charms.]

COMTESSE. Mon Dieu!

MAGGIE. I think that's putting it correctly, John.

JOHN. In a sense. But I'm not to attend the meeting at Leeds. My
speech doesn't find favour. [With a strange humility] There's
something wrong with it.

COMTESSE. I never expected to hear you say that, Mr. Shand.

JOHN [wondering also]. I never expected it myself. I meant to make it
the speech of my career. But somehow my hand seems to have lost its
cunning.

COMTESSE. And you don't know how?

JOHN. It's inexplicable. My brain was never clearer.

COMTESSE. You might have helped him, Sybil.

SYBIL [quite sulkily]. I did.

COMTESSE. But I thought she was such an inspiration to you, Mr.
Shand.

JOHN [going bravely to SYBIL'S side]. She slaved at it with me.

COMTESSE. Strange. [Wickedly becoming practical also] So now there is
nothing to detain you. Shall I send for a fly, Sybil?

SYBIL [with a cry of the heart]. Auntie, do leave us.

COMTESSE. I can understand your impatience to be gone, Mr. Shand.

JOHN [heavily]. I promised Maggie to wait till the 24th, and I'm a
man of my word.

MAGGIE. But I give you back your word, John. You can go now.

[JOHN looks at SYBIL, and SYBIL looks at JOHN, and the impediment
arrives in time to take a peep at both of them.]

SYBIL [groping for the practical, to which we must all come in the
end]. He must make satisfactory arrangements about you first. I
insist on that.

MAGGIE [with no more imagination than a hen]. Thank you, Lady Sybil,
but I have made all my arrangements.

JOHN [stung]. Maggie, that was my part.

MAGGIE. You see, my brothers feel they can't be away from their
business any longer; and so, if it would be convenient to you, John,
I could travel north with them by the night train on Wednesday.

SYBIL. I--I----The way you put things---!

JOHN. This is just the 21st.

MAGGIE. My things are all packed. I think you'll find the house in
good order, Lady Sybil. I have had the vacuum cleaners in. I'll give
you the keys of the linen and the silver plate; I have them in that
bag. The carpet on the upper landing is a good deal frayed, but---

SYBIL. Please, I don't want to hear any more.

MAGGIE. The ceiling of the dining-room would be the better of a new
lick of paint---

SYBIL [stamping her foot, small fours]. Can't you stop her?

JOHN [soothingly]. She's meaning well. Maggie, I know it's natural to
you to value those things, because your outlook on life is bounded by
them; but all this jars on me.

MAGGIE. Does it?

JOHN. Why should you be so ready to go?

MAGGIE. I promised not to stand in your way.

JOHN [stoutly]. You needn't be in such a hurry. There are three days
to run yet. [The French are so different from us that we shall
probably never be able to understand why the COMTESSE laughed aloud
here.] It's just a joke to the Comtesse.

COMTESSE. It seems to be no joke to you, Mr. Shand. Sybil, my pet,
are you to let him off?

SYBIL [flashing]. Let him off? If he wishes it. Do you?

JOHN [manfully]. I want it to go on. [Something seems to have caught
in his throat: perhaps it is the impediment trying a temporary home.]
It's the one wish of my heart. If you come with me, Sybil, I'll do
all in a man's power to make you never regret it.

[Triumph of the Vere de Veres.]

MAGGIE [bringing them back to earth with a dump]. And I can make my
arrangements for Wednesday?

SYBIL [seeking the COMTESSE's protection]. No, you can't. Auntie, I
am not going on with this. I'm very sorry for you, John, but I see
now--I couldn't face it---

[She can't face anything at this moment except the sofa pillows.]

COMTESSE [noticing JOHN'S big sigh of relief]. So THAT is all right,
Mr. Shand!

MAGGIE. Don't you love her any more, John? Be practical.

SYBIL [to the pillows]. At any rate I have tired of him. Oh, best to
tell the horrid truth. I am ashamed of myself. I have been crying my
eyes out over it--I thought I was such a different kind of woman. But
I am weary of him. I think him--oh, so dull.

JOHN [his face lighting up]. Are you sure that is how you have come
to think of me?

SYBIL. I'm sorry; [with all her soul] but yes--yes--yes.

JOHN. By God, it's more than I deserve.

COMTESSE. Congratulations to you both.

[SYBIL runs away; and in the fulness of time she married successfully
in cloth of silver, which was afterwards turned into a bed-spread.]

MAGGIE. You haven't read my letter yet, John, have you?

JOHN. No.

COMTESSE [imploringly]. May I know to what darling letter you refer?

MAGGIE. It's a letter I wrote to him before he left London. I gave it
to him closed, not to be opened until his time here was ended.

JOHN [as his hand strays to his pocket]. Am I to read it now?

MAGGIE. Not before her. Please go away, Comtesse.

COMTESSE. Every word you say makes me more determined to remain.

MAGGIE. It will hurt you, John. [Distressed] Don't read it; tear it
up.

JOHN. You make me very curious, Maggie. And yet I don't see what can
be in it.

COMTESSE. But you feel a little nervous? Give ME the dagger.

MAGGIE [quickly]. No. [But the COMTESSE has already got it.]

COMTESSE. May I? [She must have thought they said Yes, for she opens
the letter. She shares its contents with them.] 'Dearest John, It is
at my request that the Comtesse is having Lady Sybil at the cottage
at the same time as yourself.'

JOHN. What?

COMTESSE. Yes, she begged me to invite you together.

JOHN. But why?

MAGGIE. I promised you not to behave as other wives would do.

JOHN. It's not understandable.

COMTESSE. 'You may ask why I do this, John, and my reason is, I think
that after a few weeks of Lady Sybil, every day, and all day, you
will become sick to death of her. I am also giving her the chance to
help you and inspire you with your work, so that you may both learn
what her help and her inspiration amount to. Of course, if your love
is the great strong passion you think it, then those weeks will make
you love her more than ever and I can only say good-bye. But if, as I
suspect, you don't even now know what true love is, then by the next
time we meet, dear John, you will have had enough of her.--Your
affectionate wife, Maggie.' Oh, why was not Sybil present at the
reading of the will! And now, if you two will kindly excuse me, I
think I must go and get that poor sufferer the eau de Cologne.

JOHN. It's almost enough to make a man lose faith in himself.

COMTESSE. Oh, don't say that, Mr. Shand.

MAGGIE [defending him]. You mustn't hurt him. If you haven't loved
deep and true, that's just because you have never met a woman yet,
John, capable of inspiring it.

COMTESSE [putting her hand on MAGGIE's shoulder]. Have you not, Mr.
Shand?

JOHN. I see what you mean. But Maggie wouldn't think better of me for
any false pretences. She knows my feelings for her now are neither
more nor less than what they have always been.

MAGGIE [who sees that he is looking at her as solemnly as a volume of
sermons printed by request]. I think no one could be fond of me that
can't laugh a little at me.

JOHN. How could that help?

COMTESSE [exasperated]. Mr. Shand, I give you up.

MAGGIE. I admire his honesty.

COMTESSE. Oh, I give you up also. Arcades ambo. Scotchies both.

JOHN [when she has gone]. But this letter, it's not like you. By
Gosh, Maggie, you're no fool.

[She beams at this, as any wife would.]

But how could I have made such a mistake? It's not like a strong man.
[Evidently he has an inspiration.]

MAGGIE. What is it?

JOHN [the inspiration]. AM I a strong man?

MAGGIE. You? Of course you are. And self-made. Has anybody ever
helped you in the smallest way?

JOHN [thinking it out again]. No, nobody.

MAGGIE. Not even Lady Sybil?

JOHN. I'm beginning to doubt it. It's very curious, though, Maggie,
that this speech should be disappointing.

MAGGIE. It's just that Mr. Venables hasn't the brains to see how good
it is.

JOHN. That must be it. [But he is too good a man to rest satisfied
with this.] No, Maggie, it's not. Somehow I seem to have lost my neat
way of saying things.

MAGGIE [almost cooing]. It will come back to you.

JOHN [forlorn]. If you knew how I've tried.

MAGGIE [cautiously]. Maybe if you were to try again; and I'll just
come and sit beside you, and knit. I think the click of the needles
sometimes put you in the mood.

JOHN. Hardly that; and yet many a Shandism have I knocked off while
you were sitting beside me knitting. I suppose it was the quietness.

MAGGIE. Very likely.

JOHN [with another inspiration]. Maggie!

MAGGIE [again]. What is it, John?

JOHN. What if it was you that put those queer ideas into my head!

MAGGIE. Me?

JOHN. Without your knowing it, I mean.

MAGGIE. But how?

JOHN. We used to talk bits over; and it may be that you dropped the
seed, so to speak.

MAGGIE. John, could it be this, that I sometimes had the idea in a
rough womanish sort of way and then you polished it up till it came
out a Shandism?

JOHN [slowly slapping his knee]. I believe you've hit it, Maggie: to
think that you may have been helping me all the time--and neither of
us knew it!

[He has so nearly reached a smile that no one can say what might have
happened within the next moment if the COMTESSE had not reappeared.]

COMTESSE. Mr. Venables wishes to see you, Mr. Shand.

JOHN [lost, stolen, or strayed a smile in the making]. Hum!

COMTESSE. He is coming now.

JOHN [grumpy]. Indeed!

COMTESSE [sweetly]. It is about your speech.

JOHN. He has said all he need say on that subject, and more.

COMTESSE [quaking a little]. I think it is about the second speech.

JOHN. What second speech?

[MAGGIE runs to her bag and opens it.]

MAGGIE [horrified]. Comtesse, you have given it to him!

COMTESSE [impudently]. Wasn't I meant to?

JOHN. What is it? What second speech?

MAGGIE. Cruel, cruel. [Willing to go on her knees] You had left the
first draft of your speech at home, John, and I brought it here with--
with a few little things I've added myself.

JOHN [a seven-footer]. What's that?

MAGGIE [four foot ten at most]. Just trifles--things I was to suggest
to you--while I was knitting--and then, if you liked any of them you
could have polished them--and turned them into something good. John,
John--and now she has shown it to Mr. Venables.

JOHN [thundering]. As my work, Comtesse?

[But the COMTESSE is not of the women who are afraid of thunder.]

MAGGIE. It is your work--nine-tenths of it.

JOHN [in the black cap]. You presumed, Maggie Shand! Very well, then,
here he comes, and now we'll see to what extent you've helped me.

VENABLES. My dear fellow. My dear Shand, I congratulate you. Give me
your hand.

JOHN. The speech?

VENABLES. You have improved it out of knowledge. It is the same
speech, but those new touches make all the difference. [JOHN sits
down heavily.] Mrs. Shand, be proud of him.

MAGGIE. I am. I am, John.

COMTESSE. You always said that his second thoughts were best,
Charles.

VENABLES [pleased to be reminded of it]. Didn't I, didn't I? Those
delicious little touches! How good that is, Shand, about the flowing
tide.

COMTESSE. The flowing tide?

VENABLES. In the first speech it was something like this--'Gentlemen,
the Opposition are calling to you to vote for them and the flowing
tide, but I solemnly warn you to beware lest the flowing tide does
not engulf you.' The second way is much better.

COMTESSE. What is the second way, Mr. Shand?

[JOHN does not tell her.]

VENABLES. This is how he puts it now. [JOHN cannot help raising his
head to listen.] 'Gentlemen, the Opposition are calling to you to
vote for them and the flowing tide, but I ask you cheerfully to vote
for us and DAM the flowing tide.'

[VENABLES and his old friend the COMTESSE laugh heartily, but for
different reasons.]

COMTESSE. It IS better, Mr. Shand.

MAGGIE. _I_ don't think so.

VENABLES. Yes, yes, it's so virile. Excuse me, Comtesse, I'm off to
read the whole thing again. [For the first time he notices that JOHN
is strangely quiet.] I think this has rather bowled you over, Shand.

[JOHN's head sinks lower.]

Well, well, good news doesn't kill.

MAGGIE [counsel for the defence]. Surely the important thing about
the speech is its strength and knowledge and eloquence, the things
that were in the first speech as well as in the second.

VENABLES. That of course is largely true. The wit would not be enough
without them, just as they were not enough without the wit. It is the
combination that is irresistible. [JOHN's head rises a little.]
Shand, you are our man, remember that, it is emphatically the best
thing you have ever done. How this will go down at Leeds!

[He returns gaily to his hammock; but lower sinks JOHN'S head, and
even the COMTESSE has the grace to take herself off. MAGGIE's arms
flutter near her husband, not daring to alight.]

MAGGIE. You heard what he said, John. It's the combination. Is it so
terrible to you to find that my love for you had made me able to help
you in the little things?

JOHN. The little things! It seems strange to me to hear you call me
by my name, Maggie. It's as if I looked on you for the first time.

MAGGIE. Look at me, John, for the first time. What do you see?

JOHN. I see a woman who has brought her husband low.

MAGGIE. Only that?

JOHN. I see the tragedy of a man who has found himself out. Eh, I
can't live with you again, Maggie.

[He shivers.]

MAGGIE. Why did you shiver, John?

JOHN. It was at myself for saying that I couldn't live with you
again, when I should have been wondering how for so long you have
lived with me. And I suppose you have forgiven me all the time. [She
nods.] And forgive me still? [She nods again.] Dear God!

MAGGIE. John, am I to go? or are you to keep me on? [She is now a
little bundle near his feet.] I'm willing to stay because I'm useful
to you, if it can't be for a better reason. [His hand feels for her,
and the bundle wriggles nearer.] It's nothing unusual I've done,
John. Every man who is high up loves to think that he has done it all
himself; and the wife smiles, and lets it go at that. It's our only
joke. Every woman knows that. [He stares at her in hopeless
perplexity.] Oh, John, if only you could laugh at me.

JOHN. I can't laugh, Maggie.

[But as he continues to stare at her a strange disorder appears in
his face. MAGGIE feels that it is to be now or never.]

MAGGIE. Laugh, John, laugh. Watch me; see how easy it is.

[A terrible struggle is taking place within him. He creaks. Something
that may be mirth forces a passage, at first painfully, no more joy
in it than in the discoloured water from a spring that has long been
dry. Soon, however, he laughs loud and long. The spring water is
becoming clear. MAGGIE claps her hands. He is saved.]

James M. Barrie

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